Cary, NC — Last Thursday, the Cary Town Council convened for back-to-back meetings.
The first was a work session at the Cary Police Department and the second was a regularly scheduled council meeting in the Town Hall Chambers.
The work session turned out to be the more lengthy of the two meetings, hosting discussions and presentations from town staff in the areas of Cary’s rebranding effort, redistricting maps for the upcoming municipal election in March 2022 and updates to Cary’s housing plan.
Searching for Consensus on a New Logo
Starting with the rebranding effort for Cary, the Town Council has reached the final phase of choosing a logo and tagline that will be used all across Cary and to represent Cary on national and global stages.
At this point, the Town staff and hired consultants have been at it for 4 years. As for the price tag on this process, Cary’s Chief Strategy Officer, Susan Moran approximates $247,000 has been spent out of a total budget of $448,000.
As of the last work session, all councilmembers seemed unanimously keen on the tagline, “Live Inspired,” but not all were thrilled with the logos presented. No official votes had on the logos, and they were sent back to the pros for a few touch-ups based on the council’s feedback.
Moran brought the newest updated logos to the council with consultants on the phone to hear the council’s latest thoughts.
A brief back and forth of thoughts from councilmembers showed that no one was overly enthused with any particular logo. Of the options shown, councilmember Jennifer Robinson and Mayor Pro-Tem Don Frantz said they both favor logo 2 the best.
Still not a fan of the options was councilwoman Bush who said, “For me, it misses the whole mark of who we are.” She continued to say that she would like to see things go back to the drawing board, only this time with less boundary on the designers to stay “safe.”
Options of adding in a dogwood flower, which is part of Cary’s seal, were mentioned as well by Bush. Frantz said he too had been contacted about the addition of a dogwood flower.
“There’s clearly a number of folks in our community that are very attached to that and it’s very meaningful to them. I think we need to be aware of that and I think that we at least need to try,” said Frantz.
Robinson also shared that feedback she had gotten was that these logos were meeting the threshold of “fine” and “okay,” but not necessarily “wonderful.”
To get there, Bush suggested allowing a bit more artistic freedom and a little less of a barrier to keep it “safe.” This was met with a little bit of skepticism from Town Manager Sean Stegall.
“My concern is I don’t know if we’re capable of finding a consensus view on a great logo,” he said. Stegall explained that the logos were intended to be safe and when you get more artistic and you gain a group of folks who love a logo, you tend to also have a group who hate it.
With an ideal goal of getting a majority of the council to really like a logo, the council gave staff and consultants direction to come back with a set of logos that are not quite as safe. According to Mayor Harold Weinbrecht, this will probably be presented to the council at a mini-retreat in November.
Cary Housing: “Aging, Diverse, Growing”
An update on housing in Cary was also presented to the council by staff who included the following as goals for Cary’s housing plan.
- Added environmental priorities
- An increased connection between transit and housing
- Special populations: seniors and persons with disabilities
- Middle-income and homeownership
- Housing in Cary being a priority at all income levels.
The purpose of the housing plan is to come to a consensus on housing goals and needs, build off the Imagine Cary Community Plan, and create recommendations for achievable goals. The housing plan includes three main goals:
- Community of choice by ensuring high quality and diverse new housing
- All Cary residents can enjoy the full benefit of Cary’s high quality of life
- Pursue regional and nonprofit partnerships to meet housing needs
Redistricting to Return to Council October 21st
During summer 2021, the council redrew and approved Cary’s voting districts to be in line with the rule that states district populations must be within 5% of each other.
According to Town staff, the census data showed that there needed to be some minor tweaking to the approved new map to meet this 5% threshold rule.
Two maps options were presented to the council with the following numbers of citizens in each district:
Option 1 Map:
- District A: 45,875
- District B: 42,179
- District C: 43,958
- District D: 42,774
Option 2 Map:
- District A: 45,875
- District B: 44,610
- District C: 41,527
- District D: 42,774
In a brief discussion, the majority of the council favored option 1. Councilmember Ed Yerha said he would prefer to have both options presented in a public hearing and that he tends to like whichever option that affects the fewest citizens possible.
Following his words, the group decided to move forward to present both options at the public hearing on October 21 before making their final decision at their November 9, 2021 meeting.
Town Council Meeting Recap
Last week was an unusual occasion for the council who had no discussion items and no public hearings to host. They did, however, meet to approve the consent agenda items and hear a business-themed history moment presentation from Mr. Yerha.
The council also took a few moments to share stories and honor the life of former council member, Michael Joyce who along with his wife, Robin, passed away days apart due to COVID-19.
One person came forward for the public speaks out portion of the meeting. The speaker was Amanda Murphy, a candidate for the upcoming Town Council race, who spoke on the topic of housing in Cary. For her full remarks, see the meeting video on the Town of Cary YouTube channel.
After going into a 20-minute closed session, 6 of the 7 council members returned to the open session to pass a resolution, unanimously approving a Memorandum of Agreement. This agreement is between the state of North Carolina and local governments who choose to participate, in proceeds relating to the settlement of Opioid litigation.
The meeting adjourned at 7:50 PM and the next council meeting is set to be held on October 21, 2021, at 6:30 PM at Town Hall. For agendas, minutes, and more on these meetings, see the Town’s Agendas & Minutes Page.
Story and photos by Ashley Kairis.
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